The National Legal and Policy Center claimed the Federal Trade Commission forgave Google due to the search engine's close ties to President Barack Obama's administration.
For those who thought Google was absolved of all its
data-sucking sins over its Street View WiFi incident, think again.
Privacy advocates for the National Legal and Policy
Center claimed U.S.
regulators forgave Google due to the search engine's close ties to President Barack
in May its Street View cars had snatched 600 GB of
e-mail, passwords and browsing data from thousands of users in countries all
over the world for the last three years.
Google apologized and made nice with countries by installing a privacy
director and new data-collection rules. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Canada
and U.K. gave
Google a pass.
The FTC said
Oct. 27 it ceased its investigation of the Wi-Spy incident
because of Google's improved privacy practices and assurances that it had no
plans to use the data it collected.
The FTC's decision came just days after Google discovered Street View
collected whole e-mail, passwords and URLs, and after a $30,000-per -person
fundraiser for President Obama hosted
by Google executive Marissa Mayer at her home.
This proved to be an unacceptable slap on the wrist for the National Legal
and Policy Center,
which claimed Google was given a pass because of its supposed sway over
politicians on Capitol Hill.
NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm wrote this Nov. 9 letter
to the House Government Oversight Committee calling for a
thorough investigation of Street View and the "FTC's recent conduct during
its investigation of the program."
"The growing scandal over Google's Street View operations involves some
of the most serious issues of privacy, wiretapping, the close relationship
between Google and the Obama Administration and possibly even campaign
finance," Boehm wrote in a blog post
promoting his letter to Congress.
Comparing Google's relationship to the Obama Administration to Halliburton's
coziness with the Bush Administration before it, Boehm also cited Google CEO
Eric Schmidt's endorsement of Obama in 2008 before the election put him in the
He also noted that U.S. Deputy Chief CTO
Andrew McLaughlin and other former Google employees took jobs with the Obama
"With the FTC's incredible decision not to investigate, consumers must
turn to Congress to get to the bottom of these serious privacy
Consumer Watchdog seconded the motion, though for different reasons.
The group asked the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a Nov. 11 letter
to hold hearings on Wi-Spy to see whether
Google lied about the severity of the Street View data breach.
The group said Eric Schmidt and privacy director Alma Whitten "should
testify under oath to provide the America
public with the answers it deserves."
NLPC and Watchdog may take heart in the fact that the Federal Communications
Commission and U.S.
attorneys general in 38 states are continuing their scrutiny
of the Wi-Spy gaffe.